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Russia / Afghanistan7 October 2006

Three journalist killed on same day memorial for fallen journalists inaugurated in Bayeux

Reporters Without Borders voiced shock on learning that three journalists - two in Afghanistan and one Russia - were shot dead today as it inaugurated a memorial in Bayeux, in northern France, to pay homage to all the journalists killed worldwide since 1944.

“We are stunned by the tragic news”, the press freedom organisation said “The aim of the Bayeux memorial is to recall the dozens of journalists who are killed each in the course of their work. The death of three more of our colleagues on the day of the inauguration must serve to convince the international community of the urgent need to act in order to protect the media.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “We regularly write to governments to alert them to what is happening to journalists. In August we wrote to Afghan President Hamid Karzai about violence against journalists in his country. It is time to pass from words to action so that today’s horrifying events do not recur.”

Two German journalists - a man and a woman - who were reporting for the German public radio station Deutsche Welle, were killed in a pre-dawn attack by gunmen armed with A-47s on the tent in which they were sleeping in Baghlan, north of Kabul. They had been on their way to the historic site of Bamiya. Their personal effects were not taken the gunmen.

Anna Politkovskaya, a reporter with the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta who was known for her Chechnya coverage and her criticism of President Vladimir Putin, was gunned down this afternoon in her apartment building in central Moscow. When she was hospitalised with food-poisoning while on her way to cover the school hostage crisis in Beslan in 2004, it was suspected she could have been deliberately poisoned.

Politkovskaya participated in a conference on press freedom held last December in Vienna by Reporters Without Borders. She told the conference: “People sometimes pay with their lives for saying out loud what they think. People can even get killed just for giving me information. I am not the only one in danger. I have examples that prove it.”

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